Pokémon

DBLTAP's Top Pokémon Games of All-Time

Image courtesy of The Pokémon Company

This week in honor of Pokémon Day, which took place last Sunday, we've put together a list of our favorite Pokémon games of all-time.

For many of us, Pokémon has been a lifelong comfort. We all know what our first Pokémon game was, our preferred starter, and the names of more Pokémon than real-world animals. Spawning anime, films, trading cards and so, so much more, Pokémon was arguably the biggest cultural reset of our lifetimes. Taking form in the mid-90's, the franchise has only continued to grow as it enters its 26th year.

Recently announced were Generation 9 games Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet set to release later this year. Thanks to its reveal, we decided to take a look back at some of our most treasured entries across the whole series.

DBLTAP's Top Pokémon Games of All-Time

Pokémon Ruby

Image courtesy of Nintendo

Max: While I've played through every main series Pokemon start to finish, Generation III is the closest to my heart. And I got to relive those memories and more when Omega Ruby was released just a couple years ago. Not to mention the amazing spinoff, Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire. Gold and Silver comes close, but just misses out to Ruby.

Pokémon Stadium

Nathan: Are you freaking kidding me!? I can upload my Pokémon from my Game Boy and play my best friend's Pokémon as well? It was the greatest thing to see your favorite Pokémon on the big screen and then you could try your hand at dueling the Gym Leaders in the Gym Leader Castle. For any child, it was like living out your Pokémon Trainer dream.

Pokémon Blue

Image courtesy of Game Freak

Alex: I never bought Pokémon Blue, rather I found it as a child buried between the seats of a bus that my dad drove. I acted as if I had just uncovered a valuable relic and, honestly, that's kind of what it was; a game that would unknowingly change my life forever. Hours I'd spend collecting and training up my Pokémon, giving them names that matched whatever cartoon I was obsessed with at the time. You wouldn't find me without a Game Boy glued to my hands. Curled up on the couch at my Nan's house, angled perfectly against the sun because the device wasn't backlit. I didn't realize at the time, but I had reached the pinnacle of tranquility.

The best factor of Pokémon Blue (and Red) is that it still holds up today thanks to its pixel style and straightforward mechanics. Sure, later games improved on a huge array of things, but returning to Kanto feels just as good today as it did back then. I still pick it up, every now and again, just to return to simpler times. Pokémon Crystal was a very close second, but Blue and I go way back.

Pokémon Platinum

Ralston: With perhaps the most well-rounded bunch of starters in the series — including the one and only Piplup — Diamond and Pearl had a great map, amazing music, brought innovation to the combat stats and brought the series into the modern age thanks to the Nintendo DS' WiFi features. (Yes, I indeed had several link cables growing up.)

However, Platinum added the polish that the original Gen 4 games truly needed and then some, including making the game run much faster and smoother, as well as upgrading and expanding on the story.

Pokémon Sapphire

Noam: Pokémon Sapphire wasn't the first Pokémon game I played, but it was the only mainline entry that ever spoke to me. I love the charm of its pixel art and the richness of its setting, and the way it felt to ride the Mach bike down Route 110. I love the tracks my bike would leave in the sand, and sending my Treecko out to pummel enemy Pokémon regardless of type because I had over-leveled the crap out of it.

There's a special comfort in playing a game made for children that doesn't talk down to them. You don't have to work too hard, but you still feel a sense of accomplishment when you finally make it through Victory Road and take out the Elite Four — even if you did waste your Master Ball on some random Pokémon because you didn't realize you would never get another. C'est la vie!